I had an interesting experience at a family event last weekend. As usual for the sort of thing where you meet up with people you haven’t seen a few months or more, there was a lot of “What’s new in your life?”
To which I kept replying, “Not much, same job, same house, ….” Once we’d gone back to the hotel, I commented to my husband that I kept forgetting to say “What’s new? I sold two stories last month.” So the next time someone asked, he prompted me.
I’m ok with not saying “I came in 3rd to last in the last session of tennis league” or “I’m taking a painting class.” But writing is such a big part of how I think of myself and how I spend my time. I worry about boring people with too many details, but what’s more boring, talking about writing fiction or talking about going to my office job? Next time I’ll remember.
I have to say, that’s a really pretty cover. Art by Bryan Sola.
One of the weird stresses that I’ve found as a writer and a stay-at-home parent is the idea that I must tell awesome bed time stories. It’s one of these weird expectations that float around, partly in the world and partly in my head, a sort of Jungian collective unconscious thing that my kids are regaled with fantastic sagas starring characters that are thinly veiled stand ins for themselves, undergoing adventures that offer trenchant insight to their grade school misadventures.
First off, I’m not that great at making stuff up off the top of my head. Second, the stories I tend to make up in my head? Often not so good for children.
That second reason is why I’ve been having an interesting week. The youngest just lost a tooth, and as she is currently desperate to buy an iPod like her sister, but since she’s not so desperate to work and save for it like her sister did, she decided to write the tooth fairy a letter in which she requested ninety dollars for the tooth.
Of course the tooth fairy had to write back. So I–whoops, she–did. It was a cute little letter, in which the tooth fairy explained that due to the weight of the teeth and currency she had to deal with each night, ninety dollars was just too much. The youngest accepted this explanation, though she’s been having troublesome thoughts about gift cards.
The problem with all of this is that I really struggled with that letter–because I kept having ideas of how to start slipping in some foreshadowing, a troubling phrase here or there that hinted at something much darker, much deeper, a horrifying secret that would slowly be revealed through future correspondence and…
Yeah, no. Bad dad. Cute letter for the grade schooler, no dark fantasy shading quickly to horror.
That’s what high school is for.
I have lots of news but I can’t share any of it yet because contracts aren’t signed and blah blah blah. Annoying? Yes. Exciting (for me, at least)? Also yes. Stay tuned.
In related news, my upcoming deadlines are somewhat relaxed and we’re fully moved into our new condo. Which is good, because the ever-present Origins and Gen Con work is kicking into high gear. I’m thinking of picking up the guitar again. And of course I need to do a few book reviews for Black Gate. Basically, I’m not stressed but I’m still busy, which is a good place to be.
Recently, I saw some writers discussing how their writing productivity varies with the season.
I looked at my data, and was surprised that the seasons don’t seem to affect me. I should have more time in winter because I’m not gardening, but I also have less energy. I’m a light-oriented person. If the sun isn’t shining, I’m sleepy. This makes winter a great time for naps, but not for writing.
It might be because I have a day job. Without that, who knows how much more I’d get done in the summer? Also, my writing productivity is strongly driven by deadlines–writing deadlines make it spike up, and day job deadlines make it plummet. Both are random throughout the year. I set myself some deadlines for my writing, but so far haven’t been able to fool myself into thinking they’re real. Still, I keep trying, because it’s the best I can do.